28 June 2007 | wuxmup
Love in the Ruins
A low-key film with a fine cast. Unfortunately, it's so low-key as to seem nearly aimless for the first half. The pace and interest do pick up, however, toward the end.
As World war II grinds slowly to a halt in Europe, an innocent French girl on the brink of prostitution and a cynical but lonely GI fall in love in the City of Lights - where, due to the war, the lights don't always work, A flaw, at least as the film plays on television, is that the French accents are sometimes hard to understand. And there are plenty of them.
Though ten years too old for the role, not unusual for actors in war movies before the '70s, Douglas turns in a solid performance as Pfc. Teller, the wounded American soldier now stationed at an army headquarters in Paris. But it is the lovely Dany Robin, rarely seen in America, who deserves most of the acting credit for keeping the rather unfocused story interesting. Fernand Ledoux is adequately brooding and resentful. The eighteen-year-old Brigitte Bardot is already beautiful, but look sharp or you may miss her.
The real scene-stealer here, though, is the slinky Barbara Laage, who shows herself to be a fine actress in very nearly her only American film. Too bad she breezes out of the picture a third of the way through.
The on-location shots of Paris are also a plus in a film that sometimes flirts dangerously with soap opera. Not a classic or even a forgotten classic, but worth your time if bittersweet love is your cup of tea.